Seriously? How? Where?


From the L.A. Times:

After a bumpy 17-year process that once proposed developing thousands of homes on its famous Hollywood back lot, NBCUniversal won unanimous approval Tuesday from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for a plan that lets it expand its Universal Studios theme park.


The $1.6-billion project will include nearly 2 million square feet in office and production space, a bike path along the adjacent Los Angeles River that would eventually allow cyclists to pedal to Studio City, and a Harry Potter-themed attraction. Executives say that they will break ground this summer and estimate the work will bring 30,000 jobs and an extra $15 million in annual tax revenue to the county.

Apparently, this expansion will also include the flattening the much beloved Gibson Amphitheater, better known as the Universal Amphitheater, replacing it with a Harry Potter thing:

Universal Studios in Hollywood will raze the 41-year-old Gibson Amphitheatre to make way for its coming Harry Potter attraction, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Like the Wizarding World in Orlando, the Hollywood Harry Potter will be a theme park based on J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books and the films made from them.


Also slated to fall under the advancing march of the boy wizard is Universal’s Adventures of Curious George. The playland’s current features include a 500-gallon water dump and flying foam balls.


In Potter’s world, kids can expect to ride through Hogwarts castle, listen to a frog choir, drink nonalcoholic butterbeer and browse for gear at Ollivanders Wand Shop. At least, those are adventures offered by Florida’s Wizarding World, which opened in June 2010. The park there is still being expanded, with a new Gringotts Ride and Diagon Alley in the works.


The Gibson Amphitheatre, which seats more than 6,100, has hosted events including the MTV Music Awards, the Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards, VH1 Honors, the Academy of Country Music Awards, HBO’s Comic Relief, the NAACP Image Awards and KROQ-FM’s annual “Almost Acoustic Christmas” show, Variety reports.


The luminaries who have appeared on its stage include musicians, politicians and even a pope (John Paul II). A partial list from Variety: the Beach Boys, Tony Blair, Mary J. Blige, David Bowie, George H.W. Bush, Louis C.K., Mariah Carey, George Carlin, Jimmy Carter, Johnny Cash, Cheech & Chong, Eric Clapton, Bill Clinton, Billy Crystal, the Dalai Lama, Miles Davis, Ellen DeGeneres, Bob Dylan, the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Gerald Ford, the Grateful Dead, Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, Steve Harvey, Elton John, BB King, Jay Leno, George Lopez, Madonna, Bob Marley, Joni Mitchell, Eddie Murphy, Conan O’Brien, Barack Obama, Tom Petty, Chris Rock, Shakira, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Roger Waters, Lil’ Wayne, Kanye West, Robin Williams and Stevie Wonder.

Hat tip to Mo’Kelly for talking about this on his radio show. That’s where I first heard about it.